Trump Jr.'s Meeting Gets Crowded
Donald Trump Jr. seems to be in the news just as much as his father these days. Learning that he did in fact meet with Russian elites to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton certainly turned some heads, but it turns out even more people attended the meeting than we previously thought.
Russian financier Irakly Kavelazde emerged as the newest attendee to Trump Jr.’s meeting. According to his lawyer, Scott S. Balber, Kavelazde attended in order to represent an elite Russian family that had supposedly set the meeting up to begin with. Kavelazde’s past is what makes his presence suspicious. Investigators for the General Accounting Office discovered that he helped 50 of his countrymen acquire Citibank credit cards with his company’s address. He opened 136 American accounts for Russian clients who flushed about $560 million through the accounts to other countries.
Details of the meeting are still being discovered and Robert S. Mueller III certainly has plenty new material to consider in his investigation.
Let it Fail
Since the Affordable Care Act was put into place, Republicans have been on a mission to repeal it. President Trump’s mindset towards Obamacare is simple, sit back and let it fail. Trump hopes that Obamacare’s failure will lead to Democrats seeking the cooperation of Republicans to implement a new bill.
To the dismay of majority leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) made it clear that they wouldn’t support repealing the Affordable Care Act without a valid replacement. Despite controlling the House, the Senate, and the White House, the Republican party failing to deliver a major legislative victory was a harsh blow.
Senator McConnell is still determined to establish a procedural vote to allow a take the repeal-only option into consideration. McConnell can only afford to lose the votes of two Republican Senators. He’s already lost three... and counting.
Republicans are Popular Governors
A handful of GOP governors have definitely won bragging rights over their peers. According to the Republican Governors Association, GOP members account for the top 10 governors in the United States today.
Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Larry Hogan (Maryland), Matt Mead (Wyoming), Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Dennis Dauggard (South Dakota), Kat Ivey (Alabama), Brian Sandoval (Nevada), Phil Scott (Vermont), Gary Herbert (Utah), Bill Haslem (Tennessee), and Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas) currently have approval ratings between 60-71 percent.
Since there are only 16 Democratic governors in the United States, there is more room for Republican governors to have unpopular ratings. Republicans make up 70% of America’s least popular governors. Sam Brownback (Arkansas), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), and Rick Snyder (Michigan) found themselves on the unpopular side amongst citizens. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also found himself at the bottom of the popularity list. After his Bridgegate fiasco and recent decision close off public beach so his family could enjoy the sun privately, this isn’t too surprising.
Even the least popular governors still get some support. Rhode Island Democrat Gina Raimondo still managed to land a 43% approval rating. Hopefully governors have learned that you’re never going to be able to please everyone, but the more people you please, the merrier.
Conservatives were devastated to learn that their effort to repeal Obamacare was thwarted by the votes of several Republican Senators. The loss forced Republicans to temporarily put health care in their rear view mirror and devote their attention to re-structuring the United States tax system.
Since commandeering control of the White House and both houses of Congress, Republicans have yet to solidify a major legislative accomplishment. With this in mind, the Trump administration is hungry for a victory in tax reforms.
Knowing that it will be difficult to maintain control in Congress without concrete accomplishments, financially influential Republicans are anxious yet optimistic that tax reforms will be completed before next year’s midterm elections.
Overwhelming differences and disagreements between moderates and conservatives ultimately led to the failure to repeal Obamacare. Unfortunately for Republicans, there’s similar uncertainty about the details of Trump’s ideal tax reform.
The dispute stems from the question, just how low can Trump cut the tax rates? And what’s the most cost efficient way to make those cuts happen? Economic experts outside of the Trump administration recommend that Trump cut the tax rates for all Americans and businesses, without reconstructing the tax code itself.
Extra Encounter for Trump and Putin
If you’ve been following American (or Russian) politics at all, you’ve certainly heard about the bromance between United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. We already knew that the two had a mutual respect for each other, but their political relationship raised more questions when they had an extra meeting over dessert at the end of the G20 summit.
To be fair, it’s quite common for world leaders to have these types of conversations while attending an assembly such as the G20. President Obama himself had a similar meeting with Putin when he was abroad in 2013. The difference is that Obama’s meeting with Putin was disclosed to the public, Trump’s, on the other hand, was not.
Trump addressed the incident publicly when he tweeted, “Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is 'sick.' All G20 leaders and spouses were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press Knew!”
President Trump is already in the midst of Russian controversy regarding potential interference with the 2016 election. A lack of disclosure about a second meeting with the Russian President naturally raises more questions.